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>> his body is frail. pope benedict celebrates ash wednesday mass. today the rubble in syria reveals surprises. president obama goes out on the road. how much can he achieve? welcome to our viewers. pope benedict issued a stern warning. at ash wednesday, the pontiff was interrupted repeatedly by applause. and it will step down at the end of february. >> on ash wednesday catholics remember the body is mortal. this is the last mass he will celebrate as pope. they had to remove the service from a much smaller church in rome. a measure of how deeply this has moved to the faithful. whatever he says will carry enormous symbolic significance. it will be a kind of legacy statement. will this influence retire with him? he will live inside this former monastery. is there a danger his presence will undermine the credibility or legitimacy of his successor? will there be two popes in the vatican. this morning crowds gathered for the usual wednesday audience, among them a party of schoolchildren. >> it is quite an honor, especially since one of the last coverings. it is quite special to be
the middle ages. >> pope benedict has never seemed entirely comfortable in front of crowds, even one as adoring as this one. the vatican said they expected 50,000. it was four or five times that. >> it means the world to me. i grew up catholic. it is huge, monumental. this great event that is taking shape in our church, this is the main reason why i'm here today. >> it was a long and physically demanding event for a man whose frailty is now all too evident. emotional ands personal. and he referred to the controversies that have dogged his pontificate. he said the church had faced stormy weather. it had seemed at times that the lord was sleeping. was elected pope in eight years ago, he said, he surrendered his looked -- his right to a private life, and there could be no going back. i am not, he said, abandoning the cross. to prayt each of you for me and for the new pope. >> this is the last time the public will see this pope. very soon, for the sake of the credibility and authority of the next pope, benedicta will be hidden from the world for the rest of his life. there will soon be t
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